Mandurah Makos miss the Mail

I play football – not very well but I give it a red hot go. I also write. Fortunately, considering my profession, my skills with a pen or a keyboard are far better than my skills with a boot and a ball.

Anyway, because of my writing nous, the club has asked me to put some articles together for the local newspaper. It’s an interesting prospect and a challenge I’m happy to undertake – a challenge because it’s a writing style I’m not practiced in. 

The Mandurah Mail has been good so far; they published this piece. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the space for this one:

Makos March to 2017 Season

 

On Sunday the 26th of March, the Mandurah Makos finished up their preseason preparations with an impressive showing against the Rockingham Rams.

The scratch-match, played across six ‘quarters’, allowed the players the opportunity to shake off some of the cobwebs that had appeared over the off-season. Despite being played in blustery conditions, the players worked their way into the game and showcased why, despite their age, Masters footballers are still an exhibition worth watching.

Integral to the Makos’ success on the day were the midfield contributions of Matt Dunn, Brendon King and Steve Thomson who provided ample supply to 5-goal forward, Michael Griffifths. Tod Holderhead was at his bullocking best while Kieran Eiffler recovered from a head knock to kick an important goal. The Pattinson brothers, Grant and Brett, were constructive at half forward and half back respectively but play of the day came from Ronnie Barton who kicked the impossible goal – a checkside banana from the boundary line. More importantly, the coaches were buoyed by an even performance described by club president, Tony Wilkey, as an “encouraging team effort throughout from all grades in preparation for the season opener”. 

The Makos didn’t have it all their own way; however, as Rockingham were well represented by Pieter Wilson, Shane Parry and Geoff Adams who were the best players in their age group.

If you are interested in playing Masters footy or joining the Mandurah Makos as a social member, you can contact Tony Wilkey on 0421 708 764.

So, I thought I’d give it the Titus O’Reily treatment. Here goes:

Mandurah Makos vs Rockingham Rams

 

This was Mandurah’s second competitive hit out of the preseason. Their first was against the Thunderbirds. The blokes always look forward to competing against the ladies. The women come out firing, hunting the ball with ferocity, while the men just go out there looking for a touch. The sexist banter in the change rooms afterwards is also pretty solid; cracks about hardball gets and so on. The game against Rockingham was against other men though, so the post-match banter was exactly the same. Boys will be boys after all. 

This annual fixture between friendly rivals is always an odd one. The game itself goes for six quarters, which goes to show why footballers aren’t exactly known for their intellect, and three age groups roll through as the teams see fit. That is, the blokes run out on the ground and see just how unfit they’ve become in the off season and are replaced one-by-one with players who have remembered that training has started for the year. 

The wind was really cranking that day which was a blessing for the players who blamed their poor skills on the blustery conditions and not their own preparation. Not that all of the fellas on the field struggled. Dunny showed everyone that his nickname is ironic by not being shit, Thommo played the game like someone who teaches other people how to play footy for a living, and G kicked a bag of goals. 

The Patto brothers did little to help people remember which one’s Grant and which one’s Brett but they did well on the field. Kieran took a big knock to the head and came out of the game making more sense than he normally does while Kingy undid his work with the ball as a player by trying to take a mark while he was wearing the umpire vest, and Toddy proved that a ginger ninja covered in sun cream is a hard beast to tackle.

Highlight of the day was a checkside banana by Neville Bartos if he does say so himself. And he does. Nev is one of my nicknames and probably the most used one behind Dickhead. It was an Eddie Betts like goal and, just like Eddie, I lack confidence with my set shots. Unlike Eddie, my shorts actually fit me and don’t look like a small circus tent. Another thing that separates me from the Crows’ superstar is that my goal was a fluke and probably won’t stop me from being relegated to my usual spot of back pocket. 

Anyway, the Makos won this game even though we don’t keep score. Even if we lost I’d probably say we won, it’s not like it matters. Most importantly, no one got injured. No, the most important thing was that the post match snags were hot and the beer was cold. If that had been the other way around, it would have been the worst possible outcome for all involved. 

Stay classy, Mandurah.

How footy informs my teaching

Let me first say that my footy experience is limited. My parents weren’t keen on me to try yet another sport when I was younger so my initial involvement was just in physical education classes. When I was at university, I played a season or two for the Edith Cowan Hawks (where everyone was called Bob if you didn’t know their real names). I was fortunate enough to spend 3 years working with one of the development squads for WAFL club Peel Thunder and I’m in my second year of playing AFL Masters with the Mandurah Makos – with the exception of those who have spent the majority of their sporting life playing some other code, I’m probably one of the least experienced people at the club.

 

Praise you

As someone who hasn’t played footy to the extent of those people around me, I often get annoyed with myself and the fact that my skills don’t always match my intent. The best thing about game day and training, however, is that the lads are very vocal in their praise. You see, even at the top level, that players sometimes berate their teammates for poor disposal (Matthew Richardson was prone to flipping the bird at his fellow Tigers) but I can’t think of a single time where one of my Makos teammates has had a go at someone else on our team. Instead, people are constantly praising each other for their efforts. This positive attitude certainly helps me overcome my angst and doubts – it’s heartwarming to know my effort is appreciated even when my skills let me down.

This is important in the classroom too. Not everyone is good at English. We have intelligent students come through who are brilliant at mathematical and scientific subjects but struggle with the writing based humanities courses. That said, we also have students who struggle to perform basic literacy skills. What I want my students to know is that, while effort is not on the marking key, it is something that I value. I don’t subscribe to drowning students in positivity, the world is a harsh place and they need to develop resilience, but I give praise where praise is due.

 

Teamwork

Footy, like all team sports, relies on people performing their role. Defenders talk about how their job is made easier through the assistance of the other defenders and will compliment the midfielders for putting pressure on the ball carrier. Forwards cash in on the good work of the people up the field. Coaches talk about the team approach and receive kudos from the media when they develop team structures that don’t rely on individual stars. Players that win medals and accolades often say that they would trade them in for team success. Regardless of what level you are playing, it takes the whole team working together to play consistently and win games. If any player switches off, the opposition can use it to their advantage.

I try to reflect this message with my ATAR students, recommending a two-heads-are-better-than-one approach. If all they write is the product of my brain or their brain then they are doing themselves a disservice. They should be sounding out their ideas with their peers, pillaging from the Internet and fossicking through good answers from previous exams. Their best essay should be built on the collective brains of anyone they can access. They should collaborate and cooperate throughout their education. There’s no point being top of the class if your class is terrible. Top students should build the abilities of their peers and, in doing so, will actually find that they become better too.

Hmmm… maybe I’ve taken that one a little far from its source material but the connection is still there.

 

Naked and famous 

At the end of training you come off the track sweaty and gross so there’s a decent line for the showers when you’re back in the change room. I drive 25mins to get to training and I’m not inclined to spend that long in the car afterwards if I haven’t showered and changed. Because we’re all adults and not pubescent tweens embarrassed at the changes to our body, no one showers in their jocks or skins. That’s not to say that we’re flaunting our naked bodies around, simply that it’s an environment where being exposed is not something to be ashamed of.

In the classroom, I don’t want that kind of exposure. However, I do want students to open up and feel comfortable sharing their work. I want them to feel safe despite the fact I’m asking them to put themselves in a vulnerable position, exposing their thoughts and ideas in an open forum. By making this an expectation of the environment, I naturalise this process.

 

Beyond that, footy informs my teaching through the fact that I go out there and give it 110%. I’m aware of the fact that you’re only as good as your last lesson and I’m just taking it one week at a time. That’s what I’m talking about!!!

AFL Round Review: Round 3 in Haiku

Collingwood (21.14.140) def St Kilda (10.6.66)

The Magpies took flight

in a dominant display

after quarter time.

Carlton (11.18.84) def by Essendon (16.9.105)

The Dons won the game

but Chris Yarran won the fight

with a strong left hook.

Adelaide (12.8.80) def Melbourne (7.13.55)

Feathers were ruffled

as Vince roughed up Dangerfield

and the Dees played hard.

Sydney (16.15.111) def GWS (12.18.90)

The Swans got the win

in the Battle of the Bridge

but they lacked the Goodes.

North Melbourne (16.9.105) def by Port Adelaide (17.11.113)

Port got their first win

in an absolute thriller.

North were valiant.

Brisbane (8.10.58) def by Richmond (21.11.137)

The big cats faced off

but the Tigers roared loudest

and scared the young cubs.

Hawthorn (19.13.127) def Western Bulldogs (8.9.57)

Cyril owned the skies

as the Hawks thrashed the Bulldogs

in Tasmania.

Geelong (16.9.105) def Gold Coast (13.18.96)

One thing is certain,

bad kicking meant bad footy

for the wayward Suns.

West Coast (12.9.81) def by Fremantle (17.9.111)

The Derby was won

by the quarter time siren

as Freo ran hot.

AFL Round Review: Round 2 in Haiku

West Coast vs Carlton

Kennedy kicks 10;
as a team, Carlton kicks 9.
Mick’s on a knife’s edge.
This year, these Dogs bite
– as the sluggish Tigers learned.
Bont was fantastic.
A game of two halves
but 14 unanswered goals
saw the Giants win.
The Crows swooped early
to murder the Magpies’ hopes
and top the ladder.
The Sun is setting.
Two losses to underdogs
must hurt Rocket’s boys.
Kennedy conquered
as Port felt the pressure of
Buddy’s brilliance.
Fyfe was in full flight
as the Freo midfielders
stormed the Cattery.
The flag was Hawthorn’s
but their grip slipped a little
as the Dons held on.
Red-faced in Round 1,
Roos fans didn’t have to Waite
long for redemption.

AFL Round Review: Round 1 in Haiku

So, Haiku are normally about the seasons (or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me). The footy season counts, right?

Whatever! Here goes anyway…

 

Carlton vs Richmond

 

An explosive start

but Blue dreams died with Daisy;

Kamdyn came to play.

 

Melbourne vs Gold Coast

 

Seven new faces

help the Dees break a hoodoo

on Ablett’s bad day.

 

Sydney vs Essendon

 

Unseen for some time,

the Swans won just one quarter

to get the four points.

 

Brisbane vs Collingwood

 

The Lions were Rocked

as the Pies took possession

– of the ball, that is.

 

Western Bulldogs vs West Coast

 

The result was clear:

the Yanks call it a Brown out

and Dogs love to run.

 

Saint Kilda vs GWS

 

Nick fought like Maddie

but was hit from behind

as the Saints succumbed.

 

Adelaide vs North Melbourne

 

The Kangas put in

an “insipid performance”

– Tex had a day out!

 

Fremantle vs Port Adelaide

 

Fit, fast, ferocious.

Two teams that are finals bound

fought to the finish.

 

Hawthorn vs Geelong

 

The only question

after that Cat-astrophe;

back-to-back-back?